Relocating to the World Wide Web

Article excerpt

The new, enhanced CBX brings community bankers faster easier access to online information

Like any technology, change is a constant element of the Internet. New information and features are constantly added while other items are improved or removed. The end result is an online landscape that is never static.

To keep up with the ever-changing pace of technology, IBAA recently converted its two-year old Community Bank Exchange online information system from a dial-up network to a system accessed through the World Wide Web. The new CBX is now available for free to IBAA bank members, corporate associates, Branch Bank Program participants and state independent banker association executives in a private area of the IBAA public Web site at www.ibaa .org/cbx.

IBAA decided to move the CBX to the Web for several reasons. A key factor was the Internet's growing popularity and widespread use. Over the last few years, Internet use among IBAA members has soared.. aCcording to a survey at IBAA's Joint Committee Meetings in May 1997, 74 percent of respondents had access to the Internet, a threefold increase from a member survey taken eight months earlier.

These figures mirror a nationwide trend. A 1997 CommerceNet/Nielsen Media Research study estimated that more than 37 million adults in the United States and Canada use the World Wide Web regularly, marking a threefold increase in just 18 months.

The Web, therefore, enables IBAA to bring its community banking message and pertinent information to a broader audience-IBAA members, consumers and the media around the nation and around the world.

We also wanted to make the CBX as easy to use as possible. To access the CBX on the Web, all you need is a PC with a Web browser-such as Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer-a phone line, a modem and Internet access, things many community bankers already have.

With the new CBX, there is no additional software to install or special dial-up instructions to follow. Type the CBX address ( /cbx) into your Web browser and enter your username and password. In January, IBAA sent each IBAA member bank a letter with a user ID and password. You must change the password when you log on to the CBX for the first time. Finding information to help you run your bank has never been easier.

Another reason we converted to the Web was for interactivity. As part of a worldwide system of interconnected computer networks, the Web allows us to link IBAA members to each other, to association staff and to a wide array of online banking resources. As a result, users can interact with the CBX in ways that were not possible under the previous dial-up system. With the new CBX, for example, you can e-mail Congress, link to the Web sites of IBAA members and other banking resources, and register online for IBAA educational seminars.

The New and Improved CBX

The new and improved CBX provides eight sections of useful information to community bankers. The content of each section is described in the box on page 30. Many of these features are new or have been significantly expanded.

In the "Community Banks and Surcharge-Free ATMs Near You" section, for example, we provide free listings of all of our members' 15,000 locations nationwide-unless you opt not to list your bank's locations. These listings include street and mailing addresses and contact information plus free links to your email address and Web site, if your bank has a site. We also added listings of hundreds of IBAA members' surcharge-free ATMs to our site.

Have you added a new bank location recently or just obtained an e-mail address? You can submit updates to your bank's branch or ATM listings online in the "Info Center." Let us know-by e-mail, fax or phone-if you add a branch, your area code changes, or your Web site is up and running. We want to ensure that the banking public can use the CBX to contact you. …